Proposed 6-km freeway between Shilphata & Kalwa may ease traffic

12th Oct 2017

THANE: The state public works department is mulling constructing a freeway between Shilphata and Kalwa to ensure a smooth and faster dispersal of traffic between Thane, Mumbai and Panvel, Pune on the old highway.

A pre-feasibility study for constructing the approximately Rs 1,000-cr worth elevated road running above the six-km long Mumbra bypass road has been done by the Raigad division of the PWD that also maintains the old Pune highway. The route is an important and fastest connect between Thane, westerns suburbs of Mumbai with Panvel, Pune and even Konkan. The JNPT-Gujrat traffic also uses this corridor among others.

As per plans, the elevated road would connect Y-junction near Bharat Gears towards Shil and Retibunder towards Kalwa. The six-km long freeway would have two lanes in each direction and would run parallel above the existing bypass road at an elevated level of seven metres. The new road would have all safety features including a robust periphery walls to arrest any vehicle falling off the speed corridor and also to avoid any debris from the hills to tumble on the concourse during landslides.

The idea, say PWD officials is to augment the capacity on the dense corridor that has been facing massive traffic snarls for a very long time now. The bypass stretch is one of a vital connect between the JNPT, Pune and Konkan with the rest of the country and witnesses a huge flow of traffic throughout. However, as there is no scope for widening on the route due to geographical constrains of having a valley on one side and hills on the other, the only option is to go vertical, informed PWD officials.

One of the advantages of the elevated freeway would be segregation of heavy and light vehicles that will get a speedier option to cross the perennially clogged stretch. "The existing bypass road witnesses' massive traffic snarls at times that often lasts till hours at a stretch. Small vehicles like passenger cars and taxis often get stuck amid the heavy trucks and containers," informed a traffic official.

The need for the road was discussed recently at a closed door meeting of senior officials with public works minister Eknath Shinde who has assured to look into the issue. "The stretch witnesses massive snarls throughout affecting movement of not just freight but also passenger traffic. An elevated road should possibly solve the traffic crisis at the highway and we are pushing the freeway to be constructed on a priority basis," said Shinde who also happens to be the guardian minister of Thane.

Meanwhile, environmentalists have expressed worry at the ecological damage to the neighboring Parsik hills due to the construction works.

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